Last night Muslims all over the world began the biggest event in the Islamic Calendar, Ramadan.
Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, from food and drink.
Nottingham Muslims will be fasting up to 19 hours this year.
But fasting is about a lot more than just staying away from food and drink.
Here are some things you might not know about Ramadan:
Not everyone has to fast
Yes, although Ramadan is the most important month of the year for Muslims, not everyone has to do it.
According to the Quran, you should not fast if you are:
- Have diabetes
- Take medication
- Are travelling
- Are on your period
- A child
Fasting can be a struggle and you should be fit enough to take part.
Ask your Doctor if you are unsure!
You fast from much more than just food and drink
Many Muslims will tell you the hardest part about Ramadan is not just abstaining from food, but staying away from bad habits, frustrations; profanity and swearing are all part of what fasting is about.
Ramadan isn’t the best diet
You may be thinking, wow, not eating anything during the day must mean you lose a tonne of weight right?
Well, no actually.
Ramadan comes with a culture of over-eating at night with lots of fried and sugary foods while spending time with family and friends. These sugars and fats get stored due to the lack of exercise and food the next day meaning – it’s not unusual to actually gain weight during Ramadan.
Almost every Muslim around the world breaks their fast with the same food
Ask any Muslim what thy break their fast with, 99% of the time they break their fast with a date and milk.
This began in the Middle Eastern and North African region as they grew in these areas.
It has been depicted that the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) always broke his fast with dates and Muslims follow this traditions.
You can make up your fasts later in the year if you miss one
If you are unable to fast some days during the month of Ramadan, you can make them up at any point in the year, before the next Ramadan begins.
Many Muslims choose to make up their fasts in the winter when they are only fasting a few hours (loophole), but others may leave it to the last minute.
Its not the same date every year
Unlike other religious holidays, such as Christmas, Ramadan changes according to the lunar calendar, which means it moves 10 days forward each year.
Muslims still eat two or three meals a day during this time
The main two meals are called Iftar and Suhoor.
Iftar is the meal eaten at sunset to break fast, some people break this up into two meals before and after they pray.
Suhoor is the meal eaten just before sunrise, usually people eat breakfast food at this time however some young people prefer a trip to McDonald’s after the night prayers are done.